Broke and Hungry: Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget


Ravenna Hinojosa

We’ve all experienced the disappointment of finding a great healthy recipe only to discover it is too complicated and the ingredients are too expensive. This disappointment usually turns into ordering fast food and making unhealthy eating choices.

It is far too common to make terrible eating decisions, especially as college students. It can be hard to find time or money to get a large list of ingredients together and cook them. To help get you started, here are some great recipes that are low cost and easy to make, so that even the most basic cook can follow them.

Breakfast – Egg Muffin Cups

Breakfast is known as “the most important meal of the day,” but for many, a more appropriate title would be “the most ignored meal of the day.” On the days when we wake up late and only have a few minutes before class, the last thing we think about is making a nutritious meal. Thus, we forget to eat and spend the rest of the day hungry.

Egg Muffin Cups are easy to prep and will save your mornings. This recipe comes from The College Cookbook, a great tool for beginning cooks with small budgets.It contains only a few main ingredients, and some can be added or removed to cater to your specific tastes. This recipe only took 30 minutes to prep and bake and was delicious. Since I typically forget to cook breakfast, this recipe has saved my mornings.


  • ¼ package frozen spinach leaves
  • 4 bacon strips sliced crosswise
  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese

Here’s the recipe:

Step One:Preheat the oven to 375º; coat 12 cups of a standard muffin pan with cooking spray.

Step Two:Rinse the spinach with cold water for 15 seconds and let it thaw.

Step Three:Fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring often until lightly browned on the edges (this should take about 3-4 minutes). Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.

Step Four:In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until blended. Squeeze the spinach dry with your hands and add it to the eggs. Add in the other ingredients and stir gently until fully mixed.

Step Five:Pour the mixture into the muffin tins and bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until puffy and set. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Lunch – Chicken Salad Wraps

Lunch can be hard to find ideas for, since there may not be a lot of time between classes to stop and eat. Most students go without eating which only leads to unhealthy choices later in the day. Thus, it is very important to find something that is easy to eat in just a few minutes.

The recipe for Chicken Salad Wraps comes from The 5 Ingredient Cookbook. Every recipe in this book contains only 5 ingredients, which is perfect for our tight wallets. Chicken salad is very easy to make and tastes great. This meal took no more than 10 minutes because there are only two steps.


  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 flour tortillas

Here is the recipe for one serving of this delicious meal:

  • Step One:In a small mixing bowl, combine the chicken, celery, and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Step Two:Divide the mixture between the two tortillas, placing it on the center of each. Fold the tortilla as if making a burrito.

Dinner – Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

After a long day of classes and homework, the last thing you want to do is cook for hours. This is usually when we turn to fast food which tastes great but is terrible for you. In these situations, it is helpful to have something prepped. Luckily this recipe works great for prepping as well as making last minute.

From the Food Network website, Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas are not only delicious, but cheap and simple too. This recipe did not take much effort at all, and I was still able to enjoy a great meal and get some of my daily vegetables in. Although this recipe originally called for a broiler, I decided to make this in the oven instead. It tasted great and was even easier to make.


  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Baby bell peppers
  • 1 Yellow onion
  • Olive oil
  • Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Step One:Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Step Two:Combine the chili pepper, salt, and pepper into a small bowl. Put peppers and onions on the prepared baking sheet, and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of oil and season with half the chili powder mixture.
  • Step Three:Cut the chicken into ¼ inch thick slices and toss in a bowl with the remaining chili powder.
  • Step Four:Scatter the chicken on top of the vegetables and bake until the chicken is cooked through fully, about 18 to 25 minutes. The chicken should be about 165 degrees.
  • Step Five:Serve with warmed tortillas and add any toppings you wish.